Saturday, 20 December 2014

shaken and stirred

This is a shaken or stirred by Tea Colman. An attractive top down, shawl collared cardigan with some colour work and nice details.

Some people have a strong eye for colour, I'm not one of them but once I see a colour combination in front of me I just know if it goes. So I picked dark grey and orange for the stripes, knitted the body and hem, cast off and then paused. I was not convinced. It looked too childish and too busy so the body was frogged and reknit. I left just few stripes at the bottom and made it longer. Simple but classic.

I always coveted the luxurious madelintosh pashmina but I'm afraid it was the wrong yarn for this project. I should have picked something a bit more bouncy and less drape-y. Here is a close up of the shoulder shaping and stitch detail- lovely .

 I've discovered Robin Hobb and totally engaged in her books. It doesn't help with my knitting though. I do envy those who can knit in a car (as a passenger of course) and I wish I knew how to knit and read at the same time.  Happy holidays !

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Marin Shawl !

The 2nd travel project I took to New York was the Marin shawl.

Again I'm in awe of Ysolda's design prowess. The shawl is cleverly knitted so all those placed cables at the edges that creates the edging curves and the cables that make those beautiful 'X's are totally reversibly. Beautiful use of garter and rib here. The shawl was designed to be symmetrical, knitted from side to side although one side of mine is longer than the other as I wanted to use all of the precious cashmere.

close up of cable in shape of 'X'

Close up of cable that helps create an edge curve.

short rows that make the extra fabric that curves around the shoulders.
The yarn is Cashmere lace from Hedgehog fibres which is held double knitted in 3.5mm circulars.
I have purchased it few years ago in a 'Copper penny'. The name very much fits the colour. Rusty copper with teal/green bursts. Look at the close ups and marvel at the dye work.. Caroline knitted hers also in hedgehog cashmere- isn't her colours just striking?

 Totally recommend the pattern- it was a joy to knit.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The New York Crow Watlz !

The crow waltz shawl was in my queue as soon as it appeared on Loop's site. I even bought some old maiden aunt to knit the shawl version in purple and brown.

Loop's sample

This summer I went to visit a good friend of mine and going through her stash ( yes , this is what good friends do !) I noticed two gorgeous woolly skeins and could not ignore the call. Things could not get better when my friend wished her skeins gone from her stash :-)
 The more variegated one called metallurgy -greys blues and rust ,but I have no name for the grey with light purple tones. I could just envision how beautiful they would look together..
I think the linen stitch pattern for the body of the shawl is perfect to use with variegated yarns. you get a woven effect, almost tweedy. The trick is not to knit the shawl too tight and in fact for all the rows that you slip stitches with the yarn at front you use larger circular needle than the one to purl the wrong sides. The fabric is airy and drapery as a result.

The lace edges are knitted first. I knew they are going to be a pain so for about a month I just knitted couple of repeats here and there. I knitted two bands and then grafted together to created a symmetry. I used 4 ply yarn and not sport so I added about 6-7 repeats more on each side to compensate. Then it is very easy to pick all the stitches through the slipped stitches of the lace repeats and knit and decrease until reaching the 'base' of the triangle .I took this shawl to New York and this was my easy project.

wrong side facing
Am very please with it- success !! 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

New York and Rhinebeck 2014 !

 Here are few snapshots of my trip to Rhinebeck and New York;

 The trip to Rhinebeck was organised months ahead. We took the train line- metro north from Grand central New York to Poughkeepsie which was the last stop. Stunning views along the Hudson although autumn colours were less pronounced comparing to two years ago. Ran like mad to get places on  the shuttle bus and planned to reach our favourite dyers first. So did hundreds others :)
Queues were unbelievably long so I left my Miss Babs goodies only to encounter another massive queue in dragonfly yarns stand. Not willing to let go this time, I withstand sudden showers and cuddled my skeins for extra warmth and protection. A steaming lamb and barley soup lifted up my spirits and I was reunited with the glass needles stand and moving mud buttons. Expensive but ever so pretty and regal.

 Here is Caroline with her stunning monomania. We happen to see quite a few of those. This is one of my favourite photos of the trip.

The journey back to New York wasn't that comfortable. The shuttle bus was late to leave the show grounds and we arrived to Poughkeepsie, literally a minute before the train left the station. I felt sorry for the elderly who could not run as fast as us. Alas, the train progressed for couple of minutes and then stopped - some technical failure. We had to walk in a column back to the beginning of the track and join a different train. Couple of stations later and we were packed like sardines without much leg room  as everybody it seemed was carrying either bags full of wool or apples. The train was moving incredibly slow- the locals were eager to inform us about this incident where the train derailed into the Hudson and people were being killed as a result!! We were so tired once we reached the hotel we didn't even meet for our customary show and tell.

This trip was such an indulgence for me. No kids and husband tugging along, lots of yarn fumes, girlie laughs and chats, long walks, nice food and shopping galore!

I even got to learn  some basic spinning from Jill my lovely room mate..

I had to take this shot of a sweater by Stella McCartney - A three (or four?) sleeved top anyone??
Two shawl projects were taken to this trip just in case I ran out of knitting - what was I thinking ??
but that is to a later post..x

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

VulcanSpy Hat !

Took a quick break from packing for Rhinebeck to show you this lovely hat knitted to my friend.
You know when a friend does you a favour which you are very grateful for but money isn't at all appropriate? well its easy for us knitters, we just knit from our heart.
Ali wanted a slouchy hat with a pompom. Few hat patterns were shown to her and the favourite was this three coloured slouchy piece , the Vulcanspy hat
I tried to use similar colours as the original model as I knew she loved the combination. For the dull blue and the dark beige I used stash- Rowan kid Classic. But I had to find this bright neon peach and I was lucky to spot couple of skeins in hedgehog fibres update which arrived promptly.

I always appreciate a good design and if I learn something new, its a bonus.
The hat is dense and warm and, using a DK weight on small needles. Instead of labouring with a cable needle you use a quick little manoeuvre (you have to read it in the pattern I'm afraid) to achieve a cable looking slant.
Also I managed to cast on with a different method than I usually use for tubular cast on- it looks a bit like long tail cast on but with a different needle motions. Ysolda have a video for that in her tutorials.
I love the extra cover for the ears - just brilliant!
It is all done except the pompom.. sigh - not my favourite thing and I have a good excuse for my procrastination - R H I N E B E C K !!! :-)


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Endearment and a Donkey !

My Endearment is complete and here is the proof :-)
I was trying to persuade this beautiful mare to tilt her head to the camera but she stubbornly insisted of showing us ,ahem.. her ass. Where I live there are ever growing in numbers herds of well behaved donkeys. This late September there are few new adorable foals which will have to grow fast to survive the winter's cold.
Back to my Endearment, I thoroughly enjoyed knitting it. It is a beautiful pattern with a vintage feel to it and with some lovely thought details. I've never knitted before such double knit hems and cuffs so was happy to learn a new method. It took me less than 300 grams of 4 ply to make the small size.
It took me a while to decide on the buttons , had to find 6 pairs that match the greyness and lace pattern. I chose odd metal silver buttons I had in stash . They are almost all different from each other and it add to this cardigan's charm.

On the 16th of October I am flying with a small group of obsessed ladies. We all share the same obsession of course ;-)The destination is New York city and Rhinebeck wool show. I was there two years ago and it was an amazing trip which I intend to repeat :)
will keep you posted !

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Endearment - Progress shots !

Am totally engrossed in knitting this beautiful pattern.

A design by Hanna Maciejewska , collaborated with my favourite Uncommon thread dyer, Ce as an exclusive kit for a limit period.

One of the knitting projects I loved
The lace pattern on the fronts is striking and well worth the extra attention in knitting it. It is actually easier than it looks. The yarn is uncommon thread tough sock . I've got an extensive collection of this base just love knitting with it. It has a certain crispiness to it , it keeps in shape, not too floppy and the stitch definition is exceptional. I'm addicted to greys and this is a fine example of a very light grey that is coming alive with darker shadows. Less is more here.

An interesting knitting detail is the hem which is double knitted so you are getting a think band with some short row shaping that makes the back hem wider than the front hem and with a saucy split at the back :)

 Soon to start on button bands . Have you notice those cute button pairing on the design?
Am now on the look out for buttons..

Will keep you posted ! :)